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Disaster in the Pacific: New Light on the Battle of Savo Island
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In the early morning hours of 9 August 1942 a Japanese task force moved swiftly and quietly into the Solomons and unleashed a murderous barrage of shells and torpedoes on U.S. and Allied naval ships, sinking four cruisers and killing more than 1,000 sailors. In examining every aspect of this disturbing story. Denis and Peggy Warner tell a tale of Japanese mastery of surprise, night fighting, and unbelievable unpreparedness and bungling on the part of the Allies. This. book answers many questions about the disaster that have never before been addressed. The Warners verify that an Australian pilot on the morning of 8 August spotted the approaching Japanese fleet and radioed a warning that was received immediately by Allied commanders and the Japanese. Why, then, did Samuel Eliot Morison in his massive official history of the naval war state that the pilot failed to break radio silence? Why did Admiral Fletcher pull his protective. carrier force away from the area of the battle a short time before it took place? Why was the captain of the USS Vincennes, though expecting the Japanese ships, asleep when they arrived? Why was a junior officer on the USS Quincy dismissed as hysterical when he identified scout planes as Japanese? Why did the results of the "informal inquiry" into the disaster remain classified until 1981? Answers to all of these questions and many more are provided in this dramatic, exhaustively researched account. Stalking the facts relentlessly in the official records of the United States and Australia, in unofficial reports and interviews, and in Japanese documents with the help of Commander Sadao Seno, the Warners have written what will remain for the foreseeable future the definitive history of the Battle of Savo Island.
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